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  • Smaller Mig Welders

    I am considering buying a smaller mig welder for use in the garage at home. Does any one know which ones work the best? Do the machines that run off of house current get good penetration? I'll probably be welding on sheet metal and mild steel up to 1/4 inch thick.

  • #2
    HH187 or HH210.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by littlesteve View Post
      I am considering buying a smaller mig welder for use in the garage at home. Does any one know which ones work the best? Do the machines that run off of house current get good penetration? I'll probably be welding on sheet metal and mild steel up to 1/4 inch thick.
      1/4" is generally considered a bit on the thick side for the 120v machines,
      regardless of what the spec sheets say. at best, it really pushes their
      limits (at worst, it's an exercise in creative spec-sheet-writing).
      but otherwise, no problems. But, if you have higher voltage available
      or can easily make it available (even making an appropriate extension
      cord to plug into a dryer socket would work), and if the money is not
      that big an issue, you'd be better off going up one or two steps, such
      as the hobart handler 187 or even 210.

      any of the big three name brands (miller, lincoln, or hobart) should do ok.
      each has its champions, but at the end of the day, they're all excellent
      machines.

      personally, i would stay away from the machines in the big box
      stores -- too often, the bb stores seem to carry special models
      that are available only at them. you could buy a fubar-100 at
      the local welding store, or a fubar-100bb at the big-box home
      improvement store. one wonders why there has to be a special
      special 'bb' model...


      (truth in advertising, i have a millermatic 140 and it meets my
      home/amateur/weekend-welding needs. i bought it because it
      was on sale...)

      frank

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      • #4
        Do yourself a favor and buy as large a welder as you can afford. At least look into the 220v welders as they will give you more bang for the buck. Unless you have a hopelessly antiquated/maxed out service panel/fuse box, you should be able to run a 220v service for your garage cheaply enough. Once the 110v MIGs hit their upper end without getting the job done they are no longer the bargain they seemed to be. That is not to say they don't have areas they really shine in, but for 1/4" material you would be better served with a 220v welder.
        Miller 251, Lincoln PrecisionTig 275, Miller DialArc 250 AC/DC, Hypertherm 900, Bridgeport J-head, Jet 14" lathe, South Bend 9" lathe, Hossfeld bender with a collection of dies driving me to the poorhouse, Logan shaper, Ellis 3000 bandsaw, Royersford drill press and a Victor Journeyman O/A.

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        • #5
          Keep it thinner, like 1/8" max, and the cheapest seat in the house is the Hobart 125 EZ, recon from Tool King is about $250.00, last time I looked...but you'll be selling it within a year to get a larger one. probably the best 110 volt is the HH140, which is still not going to give you good welds on 1/4"...although you could probably do passable ones for home use (no highway travel), with multiple passes.

          I have a 220 volt Hh180, and use my Stick to do 1/4".
          "Good Enough Never Is"

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          • #6
            I've been running a Lincoln 110v unit for over 10 years now. I've never been sorry I had it. A huge majority of my MIG projects are on smaller angle iron and square tubing and it excells in those areas. I'd say I've run near 500 pounds of wire through it over the years.

            I run 75/25 gas.
            Miller Bobcat 225
            Lincoln Mig
            Victor torch

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